Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where do you knit?

Disclaimer: I'm a knitter, so that's where my focus goes naturally. Feel free to replace "knit" wherever it appears with "crochet." (Photo #1 is a couple of years old -- me knitting at the Michigan Renaissance Festival (I don't have many pictures of me knitting, as evidenced by photo #2, me in costume/makeup for a student zombie film).)

New GarbIt seems like a fight breaks out an any knitting forum/community every time someone asks a question about when and where it's okay (or not) to knit. Some people totally freak out at the thought of someone knitting at the movies. Others think nothing of pulling out their knitting at the symphony.

I've found that, over time, my opinion has changed in some areas; in others, it's the same as it ever was. Most of the time it depends on how formal the environment is and how the knitting might be received by people around me. For the latter, it totally depends on the people. I've heard/read horror stories about controlling spouses insisting that no knitting be done in their presence, parents who suddenly decide that knitting isn't allowed on Sundays, and people who are humiliated because their friend is knitting at a bar. That's not what I'm talking about. There are bigger issues at stake in those cases. coughcontrolfreakscough

At my old job, I was on the business side of things -- giving requirements -- and I took my knitting to all manner of informal meetings. I left it behind for anything where someone higher level than me would be in attendance. Still, I had my knitting at most of my meetings, and it saved my sanity during long conference calls. In my current job, I'm on the IT side -- frequently gathering requirements. Plus, the overall feel of this place is more formal. Since I don't think knitting at work is a right, it stays under my desk until lunch, unless I'm on a boring conference call (and am not officiating).

knitting zombie 2I absolutely knit at movies. My needles don't click-clack, and I take simple, mindless projects like washcloths and can knit in the dark (if it's simple and mindless). Someone that has a problem with that is just going to have to deal.

I don't always get it out of my bag, but I almost always have some knitting with me when we do go out to eat, in case the service is slow. This would be at mom & pop establishments and chain restaurants; we don't eat at fancy restaurants very often. When we do, or if it's a business function, the knitting stays at home or in the car.

Anyone visiting my home should feel free to bring their knitting. Once we've settled down in the living room to chat or watch a movie, my knitting is going to come out -- you may as well get some rows done! Going into someone else's home, I have to gauge the situation. It depends on the hostess and the formality of the event. In addition:

  • Doctor's waiting rooms, in line at the Post Office, etc.: yes
  • Job interview: no
  • I don't go to school anymore, but knitting in class would depend on the instructor. If s/he said no, then it would be no (and I'd have to find something else to fidget with).
  • Weddings and Funerals: Totally depends. I'd err on the side of civility and leave the knitting behind. However, please feel free to bring knitting to my funeral.
  • Church: Well. I have knit during certain programs where the lights are out and there's no way I could disturb anyone. I don't attend regular church services, but the ones I used to attend would probably frown on the knitting, and as much as I'd be itching to get some stitches in, I probably wouldn't, considering the environment. I have, however, heard of ministers that welcome and encourage quiet, contemplative, charity knitting during services.
The bottom line is that I don't think it's my right to knit anywhere I want, whenever I want. I used to think that people were totally out of line who said things like "if you can't put your knitting down for an evening, you've got bigger problems than not knitting," but have come to realize that my problem was more likely with how the statements were phrased.


naiadkitty said...

Oh! The controversy!

I just wanted to say that for my interview at this job, I flew halfway across the country for the day. So, of course, I had my knitting with me when I showed up an hour early. I sat on the couch in the lobby and knit. Kept me sane, and was read by them as "being productive," so, yay?

Of course, YMMV ;)

phd in yogurtry said...

Hello from Mrs G's slow cook. Quite enjoyable, especially your very attractive 3-button hat!

I can't help wondering why I didn't think of plastic wrap to cover the bath tub overflow valve (also didn't know what that inconvenient opening was called) but am looking forward to a hot bath that covers me all up. So thank you in advance!

g said...

also a visitor from Mrs. G.

Wow, I had no idea knitting in public was a controversy!!

I am not a "knitter" but I have had brief periods in my life where knitting has dominated my thoughts.

i guess that sounds like someone saying, "I'm not a drug user, but i did mainline heroin for a couple of weeks."

I knit for three months while my family was in Norway - Norwegians LOVE to knit! - and I finished one sweater for my kid that was too small for him, and I got 99.99% through another sweater for myself, that is still unfinished in the cedar chest. Since 1992.

I once gave myself tendonitis because I knit during a long run of a show I was working on.

I haven't knit in years - decades, actually - but just like a drunk, if I get my hands on a pair of needles and some nice yarn, I'm off the wagon.

I don't suppose you know anything about the way Norwegians cut open their sweaters at the arm openings, do you? That was what stymied me......

KnittingInMySleep said...

I have knit in a business meeting before, with permission from my boss. His wife is a knitter and he is totally on board with the concept that you can knit and pay attention at the same time.

I have not taken my knitting to church. Usually that's because I'm trying my best to keep my children in line & wouldn't have but a moment to breathe before one of them touched the other. Again.

Steph said...

I saw someone knitting during church last week - in our very small congregation - and went to talk to her about the sock she was working on. Turns out there's a knitting group made up of people from the church, and she invited me to join. Yay! She said nobody has ever had an issue with her working on things during service. I'm going to start taking my projects with me, because I have come to the conclusion that if I am ever going to finish another thing before Piper goes to college, I will have to start knitting at every opportunity. In the car, at friends' houses, in church. Any time I can have a few baby-free minutes. I've done it at friends' houses when hanging out watching movies before, and nobody minded. Nobody seems to mind when I knit in restaurants, either. My husband has said knitting in the car makes him "nervous" because he's convinced we're going to get in a wreck and I'll be somehow fatally stabbed by my needles. I explained that the bamboo needles I generally use would probably snap well before piercing my heart.

Traci said...

I love this post! I have the same "boundaries" with my knitting as well! I'm so tempted to knit in church. One of our fellow yarnies has crocheted in service before. I bring mine most everywhere with me.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Over from Mrs. G's to say "hi."

"Feel free to bring knitting to my funeral." Love it!

Anonymous said...

I answer phones for a living and all but one of the ladies I work with knit and crochet. Our boss has said that he is going to by the non knitter a kit so that we will all be "crafty" while answering the phones.